Oklahoma basketball: Sooners remind themselves to get low on defense

by Stephanie Kuzydym Published: January 6, 2013
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photo - Oklahoma's Romero Osby gets by West Virginia's Aaric Murray, lying on floor, for a loose ball on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Morgantown, W.Va. Osby led Oklahoma with 21 points in a 67-57 win. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder) ORG XMIT: WVRS109
Oklahoma's Romero Osby gets by West Virginia's Aaric Murray, lying on floor, for a loose ball on Saturday, Jan. 5, 2013, during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Morgantown, W.Va. Osby led Oklahoma with 21 points in a 67-57 win. (AP Photo/Randy Snyder) ORG XMIT: WVRS109

The sounds of hands slapping the court rang like thunder through the arena.

Oklahoma was going on defense, and they were reminding themselves to get low.

It's something hundreds of basketball teams do. Touching the court to prepare on defense is probably as old as peanut butter pairing nicely with jelly. But the old action is giving the Sooners a new defense.

“Touch, Red!”

The words bellow out of one of the five mouths of Oklahoma's starters. Any one of them might say it. Sometimes, they say it in unison. Then comes the thunder of flesh to floor.

In Oklahoma's 13 games so far, the one word Sooners coach Lon Kruger has preached more than the rest is “physicality”. Amath M'Baye said there's just something about the motion of bending his knees and slamming the floor with his palms that reminds him he needs to get down, defend his man and stay physical.

In those 13 games, OU's “Touch, Red!” has led it to an increased defense. The Sooners push back when they're pushed — which they showed when they beat Sweet 16 team Ohio at the end of December.

Then on Saturday, they outrebounded West Virginia, snagging 27 defensive rebounds and 40 total, to open the conference season.

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by Stephanie Kuzydym
Reporter
Stephanie Kuzydym learned at a young age that life is a game of inches. That's just one reason why she loves football. Kuzydym joined The Oklahoman in July 2012. Before arriving in the state, Kuzydym was an intern for the sports departments at...
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